The big surprise was when I arrived at my pre-arranged accommodation, the Over-Sea Club – no one was at the hostel, opened the door or even answered the phone. I waited with a Japanese girl, a student in Cape Town who was supposed to meet up with a friend and we had quite a nice conversation till a guy approaches us for money. First he would just talk to us about the weather and stuff, but then he started to tell us a weird story about German tourists taking all of his stuff and that he had to leave Cape Town and therefore needed 300 Rand… bla bla. I’m sure he talked to us for more then 20 minutes, till I made up an excuse so the Japanese Girl and I could leave. I decided to stay at her hostel, the Travellers Inn, which was just next door. I must have been a bit confused the first day, since I was willing to pay 200 Rand (around 30 Euro) for one night. Nice and clean single room, with breakfast, but not my usual budget for accommodation…
The hike was a really good decision, since I got to see lots of different animals and plants and to enjoy Cape Town from above. But as I said before, it was a hot and sunny day and this made the hiking-trip very exhausting. Occasionally, people die when they try to hike up Table mountain. The view on top of Table mountain was breathtaking. For me, the walk up was enough and there was no chance I would walk down the mountain again, so I took the cable way back and called a Rikki to get back to my hostel. Rikkis usually pick up people on their way, which explains the cheap fairs, so it can take a while till you get to your supposed destination and sometimes you are lucky as me and a gorgeous model from New York joins you. I found it quiet amusing that a model in expensive clothing was sitting in the dirty little bus with me. She had to go to Camps Bay, the very hip, trendy and extremely expensive beach/district of Cape Town where all the rich and beautiful people stay. Unfortunately I had to stay in Sea-Point, budget wise, which happens to be the “gay district” of Cape Town… I also did not know was that in South Africa Cape Town is widely know as HQ, which stands for headquarters of the gay community. But that’s nothing to worry about.
In the evening I met a guy from England. He was on a world around trip for seven weeks. The most amazing thing about him was that he had all his accommodation (SEVEN weeks) booked in advance. I was only on a three week holiday and did not even made a booking for the first night (a reservation, but even that one changed). After a few drinks with girls from Ireland in hostel-owned Aardvark-Bar we decided to explore the Cape Peninsula the next day together.
After the most south-western point of Africa, we headed back to Boulders Beach, the infamous Penguin colony. A short break was caused by family of about 20 baboons, which where fighting and screaming around on the street. The penguins occupied Boulders Beach about 20 years ago, and became a major tourist attraction in the resent years. There are hundreds of them, and the only thing they seem to do is to breed their eggs, protect their childreen and shit around. Honestly, the smell caused by penguin-crap was almost unbearable.
We finished our stay in Simons Town with a nice dinner in a fishrestaurant on the main street before we went back to Cape Town.
I continued to walk to the main beach, which was very crowded and after a short rest took a Rikki back to Sea Point.
In the late afternoon the guy from England and I tried to hike up Lions Head, to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, he was vertigo and had to give up after only 500 meters. I made it half way up, but then I realised that I wouldn’t make it up to the top and back in time before darkness falls, so instead I enjoyed the wonderful sunset on my way back and promised myself to climb the top another time.
I spent the rest of the day, expect a lunch break at the local Mexican restaurant (excellent chilli) on the beach, a “blue flag” beach, as the owner of my new hostel assured me.. I stayed at a Backpackers called “Nothandos” (which means “love” in Zulu), a very nice and clean place, owned by a white couple. I had two bedrooms on my own (no snoring like in the previous nights!!) including a bathroom and hot shower. The hostel was located next to an shopping mall and it was only a 15 minute walk to the beach.
Side-Note: Robberg is about to become a world natural heritage. If you are on Robbberg and look at Plettenberg Bay, you realise that, like in every other bay, a big chunk is missing. Well, the big chunk that is missing and makes Plettenberg a “bay” is actually the Falkland Islands close to South-America. The rocks that you find on Robberg are exactly the same rocks you will find on the Falkland islands and that is one of the major proofs that there once was one big continent called Gondwana or Pangea.
The day ended with an typical South African Barbecue, organised by the owners of the hostel. Plenty of steaks and “Borkworst”, some kind of sausages, accompanied by my favourite drink, a cider called “Savana”.
I left Plettenberg Bay after the amazing dolphin tour and took the bus to Port Elisabeth. I didn’t use the Baz-Bus this time since a normal Bus looked cheaper, but after my arrival in Port Elisabeth I had to pay another 40 Rand for the taxi- to get to my hostel, the PE Backpackers, which equalised my savings. At night I went bowling with an English couple (guess what, on an around the world trip for one year…) and Peter, a guy from the Czech republic who was running the hostel as part of his pratical training. I also booked a tour to the Addo Elephant park for the very next, to keep me busy and not waist to much time just hanging around on the beach or at the hostel.
He was a “coloured”, which for example meant that he had to live in a designated area and the education-opportunities were bad compared to the education a white person, still better then those of a black person. Out of 10 Rand, 1 Rand would be spend on education for a black person, 3 Rand for a coloured person and the rest would go into educating a white person.
But as we all know, Apartheid-laws are gone so things have changed. The problems are still big in this country and it will take many years to solve them, but its much better then it was before.
My personal feeling is that South Africans are very proud of their country and there is one person everyone is looking up to, and that’s Nelson Mandela. They are going to change the name of Port Elisabeth into Nelson Mandela Bay, with a 25 meter high statue of him at new harbour they are currently building.
But on to the Elephant Park. Unfortunately for us we didn’t get to see a lot elephants and the tour guide told us that it was one of his worst days. Usually visitors end up seeing hundreds of elephants, whereas we only saw about twenty to thirty the entire day. But since it was my first game-drive ever, I didn’t mind at all and was fully satisfied to see Zebras, Antelopes., Giraffes and yes also a few Elephants.
A little advice: When driving around in the park you are not alowed to leave the car, so keep in mind that lots of drinking will fill up your bladder and then you will, just like me, pray for a stop.